Returning & Renewing Policies
Returning & Renewing
The Bible is clear that we have a duty to our fellow man, and we should take every precaution to ensure we keep those in our congregation safe. We also recognize that we are facing the greatest constitutional challenge of our lifetime.
Because of the seriousness of this virus, and the ability that it has shown to transmit easily and cause great physical harm, it is vital that we treat it with the respect that it warrants. The following Policies and procedures are for the phase 1 opening of Hillside Baptist Church and will be adapted as necessary to contribute to the furtherance of the ministry, and the continuing needs of keeping people safe.
The following procedures are broken down into the different areas of ministry and services to allow a glimpse into the responsibilities of the staff and congregants that worship with us.
Temporary Service Schedule:
· 9 AM – Services for those 60 and above or those with underlying health conditions
· 11 AM – Services Open for all individuals
· 6 PM – Will remain Live stream only
· 7 PM – Services Open for all Individuals
We recommend high-risk individuals (and/or care-givers of high-risk individuals) to stay home and utilize distance options to attend.
a. We will continue to offer livestream for those that are not yet comfortable with attending in person.
b. For those that want to be closer to the members, but are not quite ready to enter, we will be broadcasting an FM transmission in the parking lot so that those can hear the message and be a part of the worship.
c. Medical experts find those at highest risk for life-threatening illness from COVID-19 are:
• People 65 years and older
• People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
• People of all ages with underlying medical conditions.
d. Underlying medical conditions include, but are not limited to:
• People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma;
• People who have serious heart conditions;
• People who are immunocompromised (Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications);
• People with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher); or
• People with diabetes, chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis, and/or liver disease.
When you attend:
Enter and Exit will be located at the Main entry only.
A GUST Team member will be stationed at the entrance to welcome you, offer you a mask and gloves, and to ask you the following questions:
a. Have you shown any of the following symptoms over the last 48 hours:
· Fever (100.4 degrees or above)
• Shortness of breath
• Repeated shaking
• Muscle pain
• Sore throat
• New loss of taste or smell or other neurological issue
b. Have you been in contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with CoVid, or shown symptoms of it over the last two weeks?
c. Have you received, read and agree to abide with our attendance requirements?
d. Would you like a face mask or gloves?
d. Any attendee that will not agree to abide by the attendance requirements should be respectfully asked to leave.
A GUST Team member will direct you to your seat to help ensure the needed social distancing in the Sanctuary.
Abide by Social Distancing Practices:
1. You will be seated by a GUST Team member
2. Families will enter, sit, stand and exit as a group. No one should wander away from their family group. Children of all ages will be asked to stay with their parents during the services.
3. Each family group should remain at least six feet away in all directions from other attending family groups.
4. No Physical contact with others outside of your family group (ie: handshakes, or hugs)
5. At the end of the service, please wait to be dismissed by the GUST Team members.
6. Upon dismissal, please promptly exit and return home.
Offerings will be collected when you enter the building in a locked box at the back of the sanctuary. We will take time to bring the offerings to the front to give thanks for God’s provision and ask that the sacrifices made would help to further the Gospel. Offering envelopes are available as you enter, please place any offerings or tithes in the box upon entry to the sanctuary.
Bulletins will remain in electronic format only. We will print a minimum amount of bulletins for those that do not receive the electronic copies. We will also set up a Connection table to help people stay connected through the church.
For now, there will be no Sunday School, Nurseries, children’s church or van ministry operating.
Will the restrooms be open? Yes. Only one person will be allowed in the restrooms at a time. They will be cleaned between each use.
Can my children sit with their friends? Not at this time. Please instruct them to sit with your family. While we understand our children want to enjoy these relationships, we must proceed with caution as we open back up.
Will hand sanitizer be available? Yes, at every entrance, there will be plenty available for you to use.
Will we shake hands? Not at this time. We will eliminate this portion of the service as we seek to keep people safe.
Will Sunday Schools classes be available? Not at this time. During Phase 1, we will not have Sunday School, or nurseries available.
Can I get into the other part of the building? No, we will have these areas locked to ensure safety.
Where can I change my baby’s diaper? There will be a changing station in the South Bathrooms for parents to utilize.
a. Spray the every pew and restroom with the electrostatic sprayer to eliminate any residual traces of CoVid between services.
b. Restrooms will be cleaned following each individual usage.
a. Wipe down sinks, toilets and door knobs with disinfecting Clorox wipes
b. Sanitize baby changing station between usage
c. Wipe down every door knob/handle that is in use.
d. Restroom facilities will be limited due to the size of the congregation and the need for social distancing.
GUST Staff requirements:
a. Abide by the before mentioned Social Distancing Practices
b. Must remain masked at all times
c. Do not make any contact with people coming to worship (ie: shaking hands, or hugging)
d. Keep a distance of 6 feet
e. Show no symptoms of CoVid
f. Prop doors open on the building to ensure no one has to touch the doors.
As we look to Return and Renew, I want to remind you that these policies and procedures are only effective if you help us. Together, we will safely return to worshipping the Lord. Together, we can continue to be renewed by the power of God’s Word! While there may be some things that we do not like in these, I ask you to be patient as we walk through this together.
I remind you that we will be back to normal. While we don’t have a time stamp, we are confident that we are making some temporary adjustments to help make sure the safety of our church family.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us, and we will be happy to hear from you.
In closing, I want to share a personal note. My family has been greatly impacted by CoVid-19 while attending a funeral in Kansas. We were exposed along with others that attended the funeral that day, and there have been many cases reported as a result. So the question comes naturally, how can we feel safe if we return to church?
While there is no perfect way to feel safe unless you live in a total isolation, the policies that we have outlined for you in this manual have proved themselves effective in helping to stop the spread of CoVid. They provide confidence that when we return, CoVid will not be spread further.
While attending the Kansas Funeral, there was no social distancing, no strategic entering/exiting or carefulness exerted by those attending. In short, social distancing was not practiced.
As we have sought to reopen, we have been practicing social distancing. From the Parking Lot services even to Choir Practice, it has all been done with extreme caution and practice of social distancing. We have carefully sought to keep our church families safe.
The reality is that we were able to see the spread of CoVid stop with our careful attention to Social Distancing. There has not been any CoVid case spread in our church. I am confident that these guidelines that we have laid out will help our church continue to move forward by Faith, and allow us to return confident that no one will contract this virus while worshipping with us.
These policies were adapted from recommendations from Christian Law Association.